Primary surplus seen to have reached 3.5 pct in 2017


The primary budget surplus for last year is expected to come to more than 3.5 percent of gross domestic product, according to the estimates of government sources, strengthening Athens’s defense against the arguments of the International Monetary Fund, which has asked for the reduction of the tax-free threshold to be brought forward to January 2019.

The IMF argues that even with the lower tax-free threshold, Greece would only just reach the 3.5 percent rate next year, in contrast to the view of the European Commission, which considers the target attainable without the extra measure.

If the estimates for last year’s primary surplus overrun prove correct, it will be the second consecutive year Greece has managed such a result, while the target for 2017 had been 1.75 percent and the budget had forecast it at 2.44 percent. The target of 3.5 percent is for the years between 2018 and 2022, according to the bailout agreement.